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Practical tips for staying safe online

Practical tips for staying safe online
The Siliconreview
26 April, 2021

Internet is an excellent place to learn and grow. However, it can also become a bit risky to be on the web sometimes. How?

Researchers have found that more than 127 new IoT devices connect to the internet every second. Moreover, it is speculated that there will be 30 billion IoT connections by 2025 in total.

With this massive surge in the number of IoT or internet-connected devices, there has been an increase in cybercrimes. These cybercrimes are primarily targeted at small businesses and regular users in hopes of stealing and exploiting their private data.

As privacy is paramount for every user, the scenario described above demands methods that can be used to protect user data from unauthorized access.

The good thing is that you can stay safe online by undertaking simple methods. Read along to know more in detail.

Create Strong Passwords

Every piece of information today is protected by some sort of security. One of the practices is passwords and creating a strong one is imperative for you.

It is the best and the first line of defense to keep all your financial, personal or professional information safe. Most of us tend to use passwords that are easy to remember, and it can be a mixture of names, surnames, and birthdates.

But, if someone is good at social engineering around you, these can be compromised. Hence, it would be better to rely on password managers to generate new passwords and store them safely. These tools are handy at keeping all your devices protected properly.

Download Carefully

It is one of the old but still popular methods of exploiting the user online. Cybercriminals primarily trick the users into downloading the malware into their system or device. And they do this by offering applications that carry malware. It can be anything from a popular game to something that checks weather or traffic.

It is advised not to download the applications that look suspicious or that come from a non-legitimate site. You should always prefer downloading applications from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store to ensure that it does not carry malware. Of course, these stores are also not immune to rogue apps. It means that you should be vigilant when downloading apps from there as well.

Use Secure Sites for Online Purchasing

The trend of shopping on eCommerce websites has been rising since its inception. Most of the malware attacks happen from these insecure shopping sites. How?

Well, we all tend to shop from websites that provide a better discount, but we forget to check whether it's secure or not. Thus, we end up sharing our information such as bank account details, phone number, credit card number, and many more with these websites. These websites are like hotspots for cybercriminals to gather and misuse your information. Hence, it's better to shop from websites or stores that provide encrypted and secure connections.

You can quickly identify a secure site by examining its URL. If the URL or web address starts with HTTPS: (Here S stands for Secure), it is safe to browse. On the contrary, if the website address has simply HTTP, it is not safe at all. Safe sites might also be marked with the padlock icon present next to the address bar. Also, whenever you are using a service, pay attention to the way it handles your data.

Apart from these measures, experts recommend using tools like Atlas VPN. It ensures that you stay safe online and your data exchanges are encrypted. Besides, it helps prevent IP-based tracking and keeps you more anonymous on the web while surfing.

Keep Antivirus Program Updated

What if you accidentally access an unsafe website or plug in an infected flash drive into your PC. What happens then?

It can lead to severe machine damage or information theft. Moreover, these scenarios cannot be foreseen and thus demand some counteracting measures.

Having updated antivirus software on your PC is the best thing to ensure that these situations are handled on the spot.

As antivirus software always runs in the background, you can browse the web without worrying about any data loss.

Avoid Information Oversharing

You should be selective with the information that you share with data collecting websites. Never share sensitive or critical information like credit card details, SSN, etc., unless it is absolutely critical to do so. If you share your information, check whether the website is secure and encrypted.

Sharing information on social media is also a reason why most users face privacy issues. Hence, make sure that you don’t share more than the required info with any online sites.

For social media platforms like Facebook, you can use the limited information sharing feature. It allows you to pick what information you can share publicly, to friends, or specific users only. It protects your privacy, and the chances of data breaches are low.